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Sunday December 5th, 2010


Wake-up call to ‘foreign office’
The cancellation of Sri Lanka President’s Oxford Union speech and the events leading to that controversial decision is a good wake up call for the Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry to get their act together to develop...

Full Story

Single authority to control cities
Giving a new twist to the much speculated decision to convert the Colombo Municipal Council to an authority, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa signalled this week that such an authority is not only for Colombo but will include...

Full Story

swine flu vaccination
With swine flu (AHINI) figures steadily climbing towards the 200 mark, the Health Ministry early this week sent out instructions to vaccinate all individuals with potential high risk of developing severe disease and complications in the second wave of pandemic influenza to hit the country.

Full Story

Welcome back President

Livestock and Rural Community Development Minister Arumugam Thondaman, the re-eminent leader of the up-country Tamils, was among the large number of Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs and party supporters who rushed to the Bandaranaike International Airport to receive President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his return from London after the shock cancellation of his Oxford Union address
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Sri Lanka aims to tap Qatar jobs bonanza
With Qatar being picked to host 2022 FIFA World Cup, a job bonanza for construction workers has been created in that country to put up the necessary infrastructure, including new air-conditioned football stadiums
Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau chairman Kingsley Ranawake told The Nation that the bureau would work outside the normal...

Full Story

Praba and Digambaram rap diaspora protesters
The actions of the Tamil diaspora will lead to further misunderstanding between the communities in Sri Lanka and would affect the reconciliation process, Colombo District parliamentarian Prabha Ganeshan said. He made this observation during a press conference in Colombo yesterday, which was also attended by Nuwara Eliya District MP and National Workers Congress leader P Digambaram.

Full Story

 

NEWS

More rains in evenings
The continuing freak weather once again flooded key areas of Colombo such as Armour Street, Tunmulla Junction, Kirulapona and Dematagoda on Base Line Road last evening.
Rains can be expected during the next 72 hours in the evenings, the Meteorological Department said.

Full Story

LLRC receives 136 complaints in Trinco
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), hearings of which are taking place in Trincomalee from Friday December 3, has received 136 complaints on the first day alone.
Out of these 136 complaints lodged by the residents of the area, 67 were on abduction, 40 on missing persons, 17 on detainees while 11 complaints were on other issues.

Full Story

Karu condemns UK’s slight to President
The events that transpired during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Britain have filled the people of this country with dismay and caused significant embarrassment to the Sri Lankan State and its citizenry, said UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya in a statement.

Full Story

UN concern over humanitarian bodies leaving Mannar
Humanitarian organisations have raised concerns over the increasing withdrawal of such bodies from the Mannar District.
The latest Joint Humanitarian Update (JHU) compiled by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on December 3 said the reason for the withdrawal was the perceptions that the need for their work has diminished with the completion of resettlement in the district.

Full Story

Conspiracy against senior judge takes new turn
Kesbewa Acting Magistrate Sunil Weerasinghe on Friday ordered the Piliyandala police to arrest the main suspect in the case of kidnapping a senior judge’s grand niece and conspiring against the same judicial officer, and to continue investigations against two other suspects and produce them in court.

Full Story

US clarifies ‘war crime probe’ position
The US Embassy in Colombo while reiterating the stance of the US Government on Sri Lanka said that they believe that in cases where allegations of possible violations of human rights have been made, the primary responsibility for investigating them lies with the sovereign national government.

Full Story

Hot spot for drugs trade
Despite recent changes made to several high positions in the Department of Prisons, the Welikada Prison continues to be a hot spot in the heroin traffic in the country, according to reliable reports.
The authorities concerned have so far miserably failed to dismantle the conduits enabling the passage of millions-worth of heroin into the high walled Welikada Prisons on a regular basis.

Full Story

Laughter, slaughter, lies and duplicity
The recent call for a fresh probe by the UN into a video aired by UK-based Channel 4 on Sri Lanka is a good example of the duplicity of this ‘rubber stamp’ organisation of the US.
In fact this video, which is not even proved authentic, allegedly showing Sri Lankan troops executing naked men and women, brings to mind authenticated videos of atrocities by US troops in Iraq.

Full Story



POLITICS

Power for the people
The dust may be settling on the Cabinet reshuffle but the re-allocation of ministries in the wake of the President’s assumption of his second term of office has left many questions unanswered-and provided more than a few headaches for President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his close advisors. A major irritant has been the appointment of the so-called ‘senior ministers’.  These personalities are currently at the butt end of jokes, with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe claiming that they will be relocated to an office complex that would be called ‘Vishramapaya’.

Full Story

Fresh hope as Zardari and Krishna boost Colombo ties
Last week was politically significant to Sri Lanka with two important personalities visiting Colombo for bilateral talks.
Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna preceded the visit by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari who arrived in Sri Lanka on a four-day visit.
India being the closest neighbour and the proponent for a viable settlement for the ethnic question bore much significance to many including the Tamil diaspora outside Sri Lanka.

Full Story

NEWS FEATURES

Core values of Oxford ‘under threat’
“Is threatening the life of a community in a British city, to prevent the expression of a point of view, acceptable in a functioning and vibrant democracy,” asked External Affairs Minister Professor G L Peiris, addressing the media in London.
Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday at the Sri Lanka High Commission, London, to explain current political developments in Sri Lanka, and the situation arising from the prevention...

Full Story

Millions earmarked for key projects
Excerpts from a recent speech made by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa during the budget debate in parliament
I am happy that I could wind up the debate on the budget on behalf of the government. President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his first budget after his second swearing-in showed the direction in which he would lead the country.

Full Story

CITY OF WONDER
While noting that cities are the driving force of growth and the focal point of social development, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa unveiled the government’s plan to upgrade the image of Colombo to make it an internationally renowned commercial hub while repositioning its historic glory to make the city cleaner, safer and greener.

Full Story

A post mortem of a snub
The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was snubbed. Well and truly snubbed. Perhaps it was Sri Lankan generosity, perhaps it was ego or perhaps it was just seizing of an opportunity to present his case, his vision or his credentials, perhaps a reaching out, a going of an extra mile with respect to the pro-Eelam/LTTE sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, we don’t really know why he accepted this invitation. He opened himself to a snub and snubbed he was.

Full Story

On being Tamils and Sri Lankans
With his speech in Jaffna on November 27 Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna seems to have touched the hearts and minds of the Tamil people.
Tamil media has commented favourably about Krishna’s speech and the reaction from the Tamil public is positive.

Full Story

 

Wikileaks Fallout

SPORTS

What a farce!
KANDY: Sri Lanka’s new World Cup venue the Pallekele Stadium has been compared so much with South Africa’s Super Sport Park at Centurion that it has suffered the same fate in its inaugural Test match. For those who are unaware of the comparison let’s go back to November 1995 when South Africa hosted England in the first Test of a five-match series at Centurion.

Full Story

Lanka hopeful of winning a medal
Sri Lankan team led by Jude Mahesh Perera will leave for Oman on Monday to take part in the 2nd Asian Beach Games. After the 16th Asian Games in China, Sri Lankan’s are seeking medals as they were in bad shape without a single medal in the recently concluded mega event. Asian Beach Games will be held from December 7 to 17 with 42 teams of the Asian Region taking part.

Full Story

A challenging task
New Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has vowed that he will be remembered by the people as the best Sports Minister the country has ever had. Well, well, well that seems like a stiff target the Minister has set himself. But he is prepared to accept it. “It’s a huge challenge but I’m ready to face them” he said in an interview.
The Minister has also stated that it would take him at least five years to achieve that. Considering the recent track record of Sports Ministers if the new Sports Minister survives all that long, it will be an achievement in itself.

Full Story

Sri Lanka’s loss will be someone’s gain
Sri Lanka sadly is a country that sometimes fails to give due recognition to the contributions an individual makes towards the success of a team. In the case of former Sri Lanka cricketer Chandika Hathurusingha, he was taken to task by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and expelled from his position of shadow coach from the national cricket team because he returned home early from a tour of Zimbabwe to follow a 10-day Level 3 coaching course in Australia which was funded by SLC themselves.

Full Story

INTERVIEWS

Support from NGOs crucial for Lanka
After observing the events that unfolded last week, if someone mistook Sri Lanka for still being a colony of the British, it would be unfair to criticise that assumption.
Initially, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited to address the prestigious Oxford Union in the United Kingdom, but then bringing back memories of colonial harassment from over 60 years ago, Sri Lanka’s First Citizen was told that he was no longer wanted at the Oxford Union, and that too after he had reached the UK.

Full Story

Rule of law ‘does not apply to the North’
In the absence of veteran Tamil politician and Tamil National Alliance leader R Sampanthan, who was indisposed, we spoke to M A Sumanthiran, the articulate new member of the Tamil National Alliance, who was appointed to parliament on its National List after the April general election. This lawyer is also probably the new pragmatic side of the TNA, which was in the past seen as an appendage of the LTTE. He answers some of the vexed questions facing the Tamil...

Full Story

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